Derek Muk

The July Second Selected writer is Derek Muk

You can email Derek at: derekmuk@yahoo.com

Derek Muk

by Derek Muk

Albert Taylor went to pick up Christian from San Francisco International Airport on Friday morning. As he waited at the arrival gate, he saw someone that resembled Maria. Just looking at her transported him back to another time. A happier, simpler period marked by his many visits to UC Davis where she taught and went to school.

He wondered what Maria was doing now, and where she was. When he realized the woman wasn’t her, he smiled ruefully and looked away. The woman with the big brown eyes returned a grin.

“Albert!” a man called, interrupting his thoughts.

He turned to the direction of the voice and saw a slender looking gentleman with bright blonde hair beaming at him. A bag was slung across his chest.

“Christian!” he said, hugging him with a smile. “Good to see you.”

“Likewise,” the blonde-haired man replied in his British accent.

“How was the flight?”

“The ten hours went by pretty smoothly. I caught a couple of movies, read a lot.”

After collecting his luggage at the carousel they rode in Taylor’s Ford station wagon back to the East Bay.

“So what’s new?” Christian asked.

“Same old, same old. Teaching at the university, writing in academic journals here and there, doing research from time to time. You know the routine, my friend.”

“Are you still publishing your magazine on the occult?” he asked curiously.

Taylor chuckled. “When I have time, which lately, I haven’t had much of. So it’s sort of on the back burner for now…actually, I want to write an article on this haunted girls’ school I spoke of. I figured going on this investigation would jump start the magazine again, you know?”

He nodded. “It’s a great idea. And I’m totally committed to helping you out on this case as well as assisting you on the magazine if you’d like.”

Taylor looked at him. “Thanks, I really appreciate it.”

“So tell me about this school.”

“Well, it’s a private institution for teenage girls. The students come from wealthy families. Spirit activity has been reported on and off throughout the place’s history. Lately, it’s been more frequent. Everything from persistent rapping noises, knocks, thuds, fingernails scratching across a blackboard, eerie howls and shrieks, you name it, it’s happened here.” Taylor signaled the blinker and got in the slow lane as traffic started to build up. 

“Full-body apparitions?”




“Multiple hauntings?”

“Yep. There have even been reports of possession among some students.”

“An exorcist was brought in?”

“Yes. But obviously the malevolent spirits didn’t go away.”

Christian looked at him. “Any deaths?”

He nodded grimly. “The janitor was found early one morning in the locker room. Autopsy confirmed he died of a massive heart attack but the man was very healthy and didn’t have a history of heart disease, nor did his parents. Then last year, an art teacher. A student discovered him hanging from a tree. Determined to be a suicide, but I don’t think so.”


Taylor nodded. “I definitely wouldn’t allow my daughter to attend school there.”

“I’m surprised they didn’t close the place.”

They crossed the Oakland Bay Bridge. Taylor switched over to another lane. “There was talk of that. Some parents of the students formed a coalition and sued the school. They got some money out of it. But they also threatened to shut the place down. In the end, it didn’t happen.”

“Looks like the evil spirits won.”

“For now. Let’s see if they’re ready for one more battle.”


Glenwood Academy was located a few hours away from the Bay Area. The school was near the mountains, surrounded by a lush green forest. Taylor parked the station wagon in the lot facing the administration building and he and Christian got out. They felt the warm sunshine immediately.

Taylor put his shades on. Moments later, a portly black man with a full beard approached them. He was dressed in a beige suit. “Professor Taylor?” he asked hesitantly.

Taylor smiled, extending his hand. They shook hands firmly. “Steve Newsome. I’m the school principal,” the man replied.

Taylor looked around. “This place is gorgeous! So close to San Francisco, and yet I’ve never been here.”

Steve smiled. “You’re not alone, my friend. You’d be surprised how many people don’t know about us. Why don’t we go up to my office, and afterwards I’ll give you guys a tour of the school.”


Steve took them to the locker room. He made sure the place was empty before they entered. The musty, deodorant-scented air hit them immediately.

Taylor looked around, checking out a few vacant lockers. “So there’s been a lot of spirit activity here?” 

“Yes. Some of the students claimed to have heard rattling noises as well as knocks and thuds. One of the instructors was alone here day and heard footsteps.”

“Did all this happen before or after the janitor’s death?” Christian asked.


Taylor nodded. “You’ve beefed up security here?”

“Yes, sir. If I hadn’t, the parents of these girls would demand my head on a silver platter. I got a phone call yesterday morning from their coalition. They threatened to shut this place down again.” He sighed. “They say they don’t want their daughters to be victims of Haunted High.”

“Well, what we’re going to do now is set up our equipment in the areas with high activity and see what happens. Hopefully, our recorders will catch stuff.”


At eight that night, Taylor and Christian started their investigation in the girl’s locker room. Steve authorized the area closed while they worked. They had installed video cameras and audio recorders in different parts of the locker room. Near the entrance they had set up two laptop computers on a folding table. The screens were comprised of various windows, showing what each camera was recording. The speakers were on. The two monitored the screens and speakers carefully for any ghostly images or sounds.

So far, nothing. The place was dark except for the light illuminating from the computers, equipment, and the moonlight coming through the glazed glass.

“Remember to take down every camera when we’re done,” Taylor said, chuckling. “We don’t want a lawsuit on our hands, filming in a girls’ locker room.”

Christian laughed. “Gotcha.”

Taylor grabbed a digital camera and electromagnetic detector. “I’m going to go exploring. If you see anything, call me on my cell.”


He ventured off into the ominous darkness, the bright light from his camera guiding his way. He didn’t realize how big the room was.

When he reached the back part of it he didn’t see the lights coming from the laptops at all. The eerie silence engulfed him. He heard a locker door squeak open slowly and spun around. Nothing. A faint shuffling sound followed and he scanned the area carefully. No apparitions or images in sight.

Checking his EMF detector, he saw that the readings were low. After waiting a moment, the squeaking of the door returned. He shined his digital camera in the direction of the sound but only saw darkness. The locker door closed, causing the hairs on the back of his neck to stand up. The shuffling noises came back. It sounded like something was moving around slowly, near him.

“Who’s there?” he asked. “Identify yourself…are there any spirits present tonight? Please respond.”

Dead silence.

Taylor breathed quietly, patiently waiting for a response. “Are there any spirits here that wish to communicate? Please acknowledge your presence.”

Seconds later, he saw a bright white orb appear in the left corner of the ceiling. He aimed his camera at it and took a picture. Then he took another from a different angle. A second orb materialized above a bench and he squeezed a few more shots. The orbs vanished momentarily.

Suddenly, the readings on his EMF detector started rising fast. The gadget’s lights flashed wildly. He looked around, pacing anxiously.

The readings grew even stronger as he threaded his way deeper into the locker room. “Please acknowledge your presence. I wish to speak with you.”

Moments passed before a white face appeared abruptly. Looking at it more carefully, he saw that the apparition was that of a young girl, fourteen, fifteen years old. She had short dark hair and black piercing eyes. Her thin frame wore a school uniform. Those creepy, piercing eyes kept staring at him. He felt they could drill holes in him. She stood several yards away.

“Please identify yourself,” Taylor said calmly.

A long silence ensued where she continued glaring at him. He kept his hands away from his body in a non-threatening manner, and his feet spread apart evenly.
“What’s your name?”

The eerie silence continued. During this whole encounter he had the camera’s video recorder on. Without warning, the ghost ran towards him and jumped. With no time to react he saw her go through him. He didn’t feel anything. Suddenly, a long knife materialized in her right hand and solidified. The bright light from his camera shined on it. It’s a real knife! Taylor thought.

She swung the weapon at him viciously, making a swishing sound in the air. He stepped aside quickly to avoid being cut. She kept trying to stab him but his fast footwork prevented it. Her face was a mask of complete anger. He bumped into a locker door as he continued stepping backwards. Slamming it away, he kept moving. His foot hit an empty soda can on the floor.

The knife cut one of the sleeves of his blazer but luckily didn’t get to his skin. Finally, he took out a handgun and fired two rounds of rock salt at her and she dissipated in a cloud of smoke.


Later, Taylor told Steve about the ghost.

“Were any students murdered here?” Taylor asked.

The principal leaned his elbows forward on his desk, nodding. “Five years ago a girl was discovered dead in a nearby lake. Turned out she attended Glenwood. Her name was Jules Rivers. She was a good student, was quiet, kept to herself. Came from a nice family back East. Whenever I saw her she was always studying in the library.”

“How was Jules killed?”

“Someone stabbed her,” Steve replied gravely. “The killer’s still loose and that frightens a lot of people.”

“Did the police say she was murdered at the lake?”

“They think Jules was killed on campus and dumped there. But nobody here saw anything.” He shook his head again. “Creepy.”

“The security cameras didn’t capture anything?” Christian asked.

“Nope…could she have been killed by a ghost, too?”

Taylor looked at him. “We’re going to conduct another investigation of that area tonight.”


Taylor and Christian analyzed the video and audio recordings back at their motel room. Taylor ate another doughnut before studying more video footage on the laptop. Christian sat at another table with a laptop, headphones on his ears. After he finished reviewing the first batch of video, Taylor started watching them again, hoping to catch something he may have missed before.

Christian took off his headphones and said, “There’s been some EVP here and there but most of it is incoherent. What about you?”

“I got some EVP, too, but it’s all gibberish. I tried enhancing the audio but it didn’t improve any. Did you see the orbs?”

“Yes. Interesting.” Christian drank some coffee. “Well, I’m going to carefully scan the data again.”

“Okay.” Taylor resumed watching the video. An hour later, he had headphones on and listened carefully to an audio clip on the laptop. At first, it was mumbo-jumbo but after enhancing the quality of it he could make out something. He listened to it a few times before quickly turning to Christian. “Hey, I got something.” He handed the headphones to him. “Check this out.”

Christian listened, raising his eyebrows.


Back at Steve’s office, they brought the laptop and played him the audio clip. It went like this: “I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill you,” a female voice whispered.

Steve’s mouth dropped open.

“Do you recognize the voice?” Taylor asked.

“Play it again.”

“Sure.” He moved the cursor to the PLAY button and clicked on it.

“It’s Jules,” Steve said softly.

“Are you positive?”

“It sounds like her…that’s weird.”

“Weird is our business.”

The principal leaned back in his chair. “So ghosts do exist, huh?” 

“Well, the clip is what it is. Nothing was fabricated if that’s what you’re asking.”  

“No, I wasn’t accusing you guys of that…did she say anything else?”

“That’s it. But there was also this.” He brought up another screen, moved the cursor to the PLAY button and clicked on it. They heard a strange howl that lasted for a little over a minute. It sounded part human, part wolf. He played it once more.

There was a puzzled look on Steve’s face.

“I’m assuming there are wolves and other animals in these parts,” Christian said.

Steve nodded. “But that seemed more human to me.”


In the middle of the night, Taylor and Christian were back in the girl’s locker room. They were five hours into their investigation but so far there were no signs of Jules or any other spirits. They each carried a digital camera, an EMF detector, a flashlight, a small tape recorder, and a pen and notepad. Christian focused on the front part of the room while the professor concentrated on the back. The bright light of his camera guided him through the darkness. He stepped over a pair of panties on the floor. Seconds later, he heard someone breathing.

“Christian?” he said.

The breathing continued.

“Christian, is that you?”

The breathing grew hoarser. His EMF detector started flashing wildly, the readings on it rising rapidly.

“Please identify yourself.” He waited a moment. The breathing eventually ceased. He circled the back area slowly, hoping that Jules would return. “If there are any spirits present, please acknowledge. I wish to communicate with you.”

Moments later, he heard a female voice whisper in his ear, “I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill you.” He spun around but only saw darkness, nearly pissing in his pants. 

“Who killed you, Jules?” he asked.

Suddenly, her apparition appeared before him, dressed in the school uniform. Her piercing black eyes glared at him.

“Who murdered you? Tell me. I want to help you move on. Your spirit is imprisoned here. Don’t torture yourself by haunting this school.”

A knife appeared in her hand and solidified itself. She approached him slowly, the knife poised in a stabbing position.

“Jules, tell me who killed you. Please, I want to help. I want to seek justice for what happened. Let me assist you.”

She stopped in her tracks, looking at him. A cold chill wafted through the room.

“Who killed you?”

A long period of silence followed before she finally said, “Greg Nichols.”

“The art teacher?” he asked.

“Yes,” she replied quietly, taking gradual steps toward him. Her deathly glare remained fixated on him, like a mountain lion that was ready to pounce.

He didn’t scare easily but that subtle action on her part raised the hairs on the back of his neck. The locker room grew even more frigid and he saw his own breath escape from his mouth in white plumes. Coldness represented high spirit activity and sometimes it was unpredictable.

“How did it happen?” Taylor’s camera and tape recorder were capturing all this.

“He stabbed me.”

“He dumped your body in the lake?”

There was an irritatingly prolonged silence where he only heard his own fluttering heartbeat. Her grip on the knife tightened. The knuckles on her hand were pale and the fingers on that hand were as eerily thin as sticks.          


“How did he approach you?”

There was a pause before she said, “He followed me into the locker room. No one was around. . .he grabbed me from behind, cupping my mouth with his hand…then he did what he did.” She looked away.

“I’m sorry about what happened.”

Jules didn’t say anything.

“And so you killed him,” Taylor said, more a statement than a question. “Did you cause the janitor to have a heart attack?”   

“The janitor saw Mr. Nichols grab me, and he did nothing to help.”

“Will you continue to haunt this school or will you move on from here?”

“The students and staff here are frightened of me.”

“Yes. But these people are innocent. They want to live their lives in peace and without fear and violence. Yet they’re scared of you. Can you please move on?”

“Bring me justice. Tell what Greg Nichols did.” She started backing away, her white glowing form starting to fade.

Taylor watched her until she was gone, standing there in the silent darkness.


The next day, Taylor showed the video footage to Steve.

The principal’s mouth remained open the whole time. When the video was finished he leaned back in his office chair and stared off into space for a moment, thinking.

Taylor also looked thoughtful. “Now what should be on the magazine cover?”

Derek Muk is a writer and social worker from California. His short stories have appeared in various online and small press magazines, including Space and Time, The Horror Zine, Tales Of The Talisman, Dark Eclipse, Night To Dawn and many more.

His book The Occult Files of Albert Taylor is available at Amazon.

More can be seen HERE